Sustainability the key to success

Swiss printer Lutz and its Rapida 74G

(PresseBox) ( Würzburg, )
If you had the choice, which would you buy? Bleached paper made from 100% virgin forest clear-cut to make way for football fields and reindeer race-tracks in Finland – or recycled paper and FSC-certified virgin paper? For Swiss print provider Lutz this issue no longer arises: its avowed commitment to integrated on-site conservation informs a modern ecological corporate management. And playing a major role is a waterless KBA Rapida 74G with keyless Gravuflow inking units.

Green print production high above the Goldach ravine Lutz is located in Speicher, high above the Goldach ravine in the Swiss canton of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. Heini Lutz took over the book-printer, which was founded in 1920, in 1981. Under the guidance of Monika and Heini Lutz the family enterprise has evolved into a modern print provider with customers throughout Switzerland. A wealth of experience and innovation, dedicated and highly qualified staff and systematic, ongoing training for specialist staff safeguard the company’s future competence. The deployment of innovative technology is fundamental to the company’s competitiveness and farsighted environmental management based on sustainability: "For us, the future of our natural environment is a core factor. With a number of new investments we have made unique advances towards ecologically responsible production. And ecology will remain a key factor in future decision-making."

First Rapida 74G in Switzerland Following the introduction in 2000 of an incentive tax on volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and the lowering of emission thresholds, Lutz conducted an exhaustive analysis of the potential risks and rewards associated with waterless and keyless Gravuflow™ inking technology. Won over by the ecological and economic benefits, in 2004 Lutz became the first company in Switzerland to invest in a KBA Rapida 74G five-colour coater press. "Our green credentials and emerging trends in the government’s environmental policy were what motivated us to adopt this new technology in order to be prepared well in advance for more rigorous legislation in the future. Without innovative technology, environmental conservation is virtually unthinkable," says managing director Heini Lutz. "What’s more, we can offer our customers value-added products and differentiate ourselves from our competitors. Above all, the Rapida 74G gives us much greater flexibility in four-colour commercial production and allows us to offer quick delivery of top-quality products. Fast makereadies and a low level of start-up waste enhance cost efficiency, particularly during short-run production." Four-colour work accounts for most of the company’s output. Print runs range from 150 to 20,000 sheets.

Raw materials, consumables and supplies – precious and costly Environmental and economic sustainability is no oxymoron. The dominant cost factor in the manufacturing industry is generally the procurement of raw materials, consumables and supplies, not their disposal! Waterless, keyless Gravuflow™ inking technology, by dispensing with fount solution and dampening additives, dramatically reduces the cost of consumables. Further potential for substantial cost savings and cost-efficiency enhancement is the more economic consumption of natural resources delivered by a volume of start-up waste that can be as much as 90% lower than with a conventional press. Hazardous substances, unproductive waste and emissions are all minimised in keeping with a more efficient environmental policy.

Under the VOC directive, the current tax exemption for machine installations with emissions substantially higher than the thresholds stipulated in the LRV (Luftreinhalte-Verordnung or clean-air act) will expire as early as the end of 2008 (an incentive tax of 3 Swiss francs per kg VOC has applied since January 2003). For the print media industry, which is seeking to reduce its emissions but cannot yet dispense with VOCs entirely, this could entail much higher costs. "One of our prime environmental goals is thus the ongoing reduction of IPA. And ultimately that means a move away from fount solution," stresses Heini Lutz. Along with safety and environmental aspects the cost of IPA plays a role.

"Our goal is to produce environmentally friendly print. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which is a universally valid seal of approval for ecologically sustainable forestry products, enables us to ensure that the paper we consume is sourced from sustainable forests and helps prevent the clear-cutting of endangered trees." Lutz thus directly promotes responsible and exemplary forest husbandry. "At the same time customers are also demanding the use of eco-stock for brochures, business forms and other printed items so as to communicate their environmental credentials," Heini Lutz adds.

Energy – the invisible money eater In every business enterprise energy is consumed at any number of locations in the form of heat, compressed air, lighting or the operation of plant and machinery. At Lutz, heat recovery systems help provide energy to heat the premises. This allows the company to dispense almost entirely with fossil fuels.

Water – a double cost factor The economic utilisation of water is well worthwhile on two counts, because charges are incurred both for the supply of fresh water and the disposal of waste. Dispensing with fount solution and dampening additives in offset production not only reduces the outlay on fresh water and IPA but also the high cost of disposal for hazardous liquid waste. At the same time this reduces the volume of problem waste generated and improves on-site waste management.

The waterless and keyless Gravuflow™ inking technology delivers some clear cost and environmental gains compared to conventional offset, and on top of this offers users the attraction of considerable market potential and fresh opportunities for securing a sustainable competitive edge. With the creation of an ecolabel, eps (eco-printing system®), an innovation that is unique in Switzerland, Lutz has redefined the benchmark for quality-conscious and environmentally responsible print production in Switzerland. A throng of satisfied customers support this concept.
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